On Saturday, I fly to Brazil ahead of the biggest fight of my life against Vitor Belfort at the January 19 for the UFC on FX event in Sao Paulo. No one needs me to tell them that Belfort is a legend in the sport. He won the UFC heavyweight tournament basically when he was a toddler and also won the UFC light heavyweight title. He’s fought the best of the best in the sport for the last 15 years, guys like Chuck Liddell, Randy Couture, Tito Ortiz, Dan Henderson … and now he stands between me and the world title shot I’ve chased my entire professional life.
This is my last week of real training, and my camp has gone very well. I’ve done everything I possibly can to prepare for the biggest puncher in the division in his own backyard. I’m ready to beat this guy up and – if I don’t – you won’t be hearing any talk of how I was injured or anything like that. I’m well-prepared and, like I keep saying, if I don’t win on January 19 it is all on me.
I took the fight because I think I can give this guy a beating, and he took it because he thinks he can do the same to me. Now we are going to figure it out - and I can’t wait.
I want to give Jason Parillo, Brady Fink and Tiki Ghosn a big public “thank you” for a great camp. And also want to mention Jason Dallas, who has been in both my two recent camps but not in my corner a shout out as well. Obviously, I trained over Christmas and these guys took time away from their families over the holidays to help me prepare for my big opportunity, so it’s important to me to thank them. I hope I can make you all proud, guys.
Speaking of training, I’m thinking of asking Randy Couture if I can use him old nickname “the Natural” just to make it clear I’m not one of these guys who is on TRT or any of that junk. Whenever someone asks me if I am on it, I give them a straight answer and if they ask me what I think of TRT I always say: "I think it is legalized cheating."
I always make a joke of it, saying the last thing the world needs is me running around with enhanced levels of testosterone but, being serious for a second, I don’t think it has a place in our sport and wish my opinion – and I think the majority of fans’ opinion – was shared by certain other fighters and the people who regulate our sport.
I was disappointed Vitor Belfort started talking in tongues when asked about TRT recently. He had a little more to say on Monday when he was asked directly about my concerns that all his recent UFC fights were won by illegal punches to the back of the head. In between lengthy references to the New Testament, Belfort basically said he doesn’t care if he hits opponents behind the head.
How he’s gotten away with this in his career is a mystery to me, and I hope we have a strong referee who has the balls to do something about it – if it happens - with thousands of Belfort supporters screaming in the stands. And of course it is down to me to make sure I’m not put in a position where he can unloaded these kinds of shots.
I’m looking forward to going to Brazil. I was there for just a few days before Christmas doing PR for this fight. I shook Vitor’s hand and we had a laugh about how at UFC 152 we were around each other quite a lot and got along great - and now we are fighting. It happens a lot in the UFC but it’s always a little strange.
I noticed he looked HUGE. Massive arms, chest and shoulders – a body for posing down at the beach – but then I noticed these little chicken legs sticking out of his arse. I thought: “He has the upper body of a lion but the legs of a chicken”.
And – now we are this close to the fight – I will say that he has heart of a chicken, too. He’s a professional bully. If you let him have his way he will rip you apart in short order, but if you fight back and get him tired, he backs down and does basically nothing.
I’ve already seen this in him. In Brazil, we didn’t do a formal press conference but, instead, I was in one room talking to Brazilian media and Belfort was in the next room doing interviews at the same time. I’d just given interviews talking about what a great challenge this was when one media guy said: “Wait, Vitor just described you as a hooligan and a thug.”
I didn’t believe him at first – sometimes media people, knowing my hard-earned reputation for embarrassing myself when I get emotional – will tell me stuff like that hoping for a reaction and a nice quote. But everyone in the room confirmed Vitor was sitting in the other room bitching me out like he was on "Real Housewives" or something.
I was very surprised to be honest, because just a couple weeks before he’d been really cool about me training in a gym owned by his sponsors. I really appreciated that but after bitching me out he then sent me a text message saying: “Sorry, just hyping the fight.”
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Now, I am all about hyping fights but don’t be two-faced. I prefer to fight and train emotionally. If I like an opponent or respect him, I tend not to do as well as I would if I felt I owed them a beating. I was already motivated, but now I want to really put on a show. Vitor has one or two rounds to beat me – or try to hit me behind the head – and then his gas tank will be empty and the fight will look like that Rocky vs. that dead cow.
I’m going to force him to fight at a pace he couldn’t even fight at in his early 20s. He’s going to be miserable in there.
A fan tweeted me a link to Vitor in some Brazilian reality TV show, a clip where he’s in a bath kissing someone’s feet. It was pretty fruity stuff but, if he enjoyed sucking toes, he’s going to have the time of his life on January 19 because I’m going to kick him in the face all night long.
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